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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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A source for this page is the book titled, "Airports and Established Landing Fields in the United States, 1933", published by The Airport Directory Company, Hackensack, NJ. Refer to page 23 of that book.

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LOS ANGELES MINES FIELD

WHAT'S THE HISTORY OF LAX?

 

The major Golden Age Los Angeles airport, located in the same place then as now, was Mines Field, now called Los Angeles International.

Photo, left, shows the new Mines Field set up for the 1928 National Air Races. Pylons and standard field circle are in place. Notice the agricultural use of land nearby.

 

 

This (link) gets you the following brief text about Mines Field. Click the "Airport History" link from that page.

"LA's INTERNATIONAL BEAN FIELD

"Wheat, barley and lima beans once grew where Los Angeles International airport stands today. Back in the 1920s it was part of Southern California's prosperous ranching business. The city's energetic Chamber of Commerce promoted the idea of building a municipal airport on the land even though flying was still a wing and a prayer activity. There was no federal money for airport investment, but the city fathers decided it was a risk worth taking. In 1928 they chose Mines Field from a list of 27 possible sites.

"The name came from real estate agent William W. Mines who represented the ranching interests and he claimed his own bit of history when he clinched the deal. For years Angelinos refused to call their airport anything else. The city leased 640 acres for ten years and aviation got an immediate boost when America's National Air Races brought the crowds flocking to Mines Field to see pilots like the legendary Charles Lindbergh.

"Los Angeles Municipal Airport was officialy dedicated in 1930 when the lease was extended to 50 years. But there were hard times ahead as the Stock Market crash frightened off investors and the major airlines stayed away. Los Angeles was saved by the arrival of companies like Douglas, Northrop and North American who established the area as an aircraft manufacturing center. As the Depression Years began to subside the airlines turned to Los Angeles as their favored base on the understanding that improvements would be made. For that funds were needed but they proved difficult to raise while the airfield was on lease. In 1937 the city took another great leap of faith and became full owners.

"Wartime priorities suspended development from 1943 to 1945 but at the end of hostilities Southern California and the area around LA had, through military demands, become the hub of America's aircraft industry. The airport managment had already laid its post-war plans and in 1946, with all five major airlines installed, commercial operations began.

" Five years later, as world routes were developed, Los Angeles added 'International' to its title and in 1952 it made its first profit. A new terminal was built, the forerunner of huge development as the jet age arrived and the ten million passenger mark was reached in 1965. Since then expansion projects have come thick and fast with a $700 million improvement program, started in 1981, providing two new terminals and a $3.5 million cargo center. The city' flair for attracting world events - the Olympic Games 1984, the World Soccer Cup 1994 - has also played its part in boosting the growth of an airport which currently ranks number four in the international league. History has not been overlooked either. Hangar Number One, the first building ever constructed at Los Angeles Airport in 1929, is still in use and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bean field has reaped a rich harvest."

WHAT AMENITIES COULD YOU EXPECT AT MINES FIELD IN THE EARLY 1930s?

Mines Field, ca. 1933

Photo, right, is from the reference cited in the left column, above. This view, taken ca. 1933, is from a slightly different angle than the top photo on this page.

At this time, the field was the largest airport in southern California. It had a 640 acre adobe surface, with all-way landing, as well as a single 3,500 x 500 foot runway, visible on the photo, surfaced with decomposed granite and oil.

Day markings consisted of the standard circle, yellow and black checkerboard on the roof of the main building, and "LOS ANGELES" black lettered on the hangar roof. Night markings included boundary and flood lights, a green and white revolving beacon, neon strips on the tower of the main building, neon letters "L.A.", neon north arrow and a neon fog beacon. There were no landing fees, but there was a flood light charge for night operations.

Communications consisted of two "trunk" telephone lines, two-way radio and on-field weather reports. Modern hotels and restaurants were in the city, and a restaurant was on the field. Buses ran hourly, and the taxi rate for the 11 miles to the city was 50 cents.

As might be expected at a major airport, fuel, oil and hangars were available. Also licensed repair depots, parts and accessories, and licensed mechanics were on call 24/7. Hangars were available at 75 cents per foot of wingspan per month. "Dead" storage was priced at 40% less.

A large choice of operators, providing different services, did business at the field. Flight schools included Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, Larson Flying Service, Air Flight Flying Service, Hampton Flying Service, Slade Flying Service, Bird Flight Flying Service, California Aerial Transport, Los Angeles Aircraft, Ltd. and McKeen Aircraft, Ltd.

Aircraft sales operations included Bellanca-Pacific, Ltd., Herschel Linville, John B. Hinchey (signed the register twice in 1930), Parachute Service Company and Aero Brokerage Service Co., Ogden Aircraft Company manufactured and sold aircraft, and Pacific Airmotive Corp. serviced engines and accessories.

As well, Mines served as the base for the U.S. Department of Commerce offices (inspection service branch and engineering branch), and the headquarters of the Los Angeles City Department of Airports. A flight surgeon and medical examiner's office was also at Mines Field during this time.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/05 REVISED: 10/30/07, 03/06/10

 
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Who Went to Mines Field?
Although 550 pilots landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield who cited Los Angeles as their Homebase, it is impossible, without further information, to know if they were based at Mines Field or one of the other city airports.

Likewise for the 369 pilots who Arrived From Los Angeles, and the 521 who cited it as their final Destination.

Some pilots were more clear, in that they listed "Santa Monica", or "Metro" in the register.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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